Party Planning

We hosted two different kinds of parties in the past couple of weeks. Two Sundays ago, we had a small dinner party with a group that we’ve known for 30 years. We spent six hours around the dining room table eating and drinking. The booze and the conversation flowed. Last Saturday, we invited everybody that we know to a backyard keg party.

The small dinner party was easy. The bigger party was more difficult socially, because we have moved a lot and have friends in very different groups. The professors don’t necessary mix well with bikers, although we have one friend who is a center of that Venn diagram. I get nervous when I’m not sure if people are having a good time, so it was difficult to relax until the crowd thinned out to a small group in front of the fire.

Few people host parties these days. (Here’s a how-to article.) I get it. It’s stressful and expensive. People’s social skills are rusty, which necessitates that I flit from group to group to make sure that people are having fun. But big parties are so important. It’s only through socializing that we improve. And being social animals, we need to fight for our right to party.

Have you hosted a party lately?

I, of course, was too busy to take pictures during our party. Instead, I took pictures of the leftovers and the day-after mess:



What’s Going On Here

Summer’s here. I went out for a jog this morning. It was a lame jog because I’m still recovering from a cold, but I went out and came back dripping with sweat thirty minutes later. Humidity sucks. I signed up for a 5K in two weeks, so I had better get out there every morning.

Typically, I don’t get much work done in the summer, because I usually have a ton of driving duties as I take the kids to camps or work. But this summer, my driving duties are light.

Jonah is driving himself around; my parents gave him their old Toyota. He’s taking a summer class at his college right now. He’s living in his off-campus house four days a week, and then coming home for three days. I send him off on Monday morning with tubs of leftovers and he returns with moldy containers and dirty laundry on Friday morning.

He’s redoing his bio class that gave him some issues last fall. With another year of maturity, he’s doing great now.

Jonah has surprised us all with a sudden passion for agriculture. And not little organic farming stuff. He likes genetically modified, better living through chemicals, sort of agriculture. His teacher recommended that he get an internship with Dow or Dupont next year. Around the dinner table, he gives us hour-long lectures on wheat that can be engineered to feed all of Africa. He’s adorable.

The class ends on Thursday. He still has to decide if he’s going to do one more summer class until mid-August or get a job as a busboy until the fall.

With one foot in special ed and one foot in the regular world, it’s always tricky to find something appropriate for Ian. Last week, we put him in a 9 to 5 computer camp. We were very worried, because he’s never done a full day program aimed at typical kids. Would he be too weird for them? Would he be able to function without an aide keeping him on task?

He did great. Sure, the first day, the teacher had to get used to him, but then there was nothing but smiles at pickup time for the rest of the week. He kicked ass. He learned the computer program, Unreal Script, which is the engine used to program Fortnight. I’ll sign him up for the entire summer next year. It’s a crap-load of money, but it’s worth it.  Computers are Ian’s ticket out of autism.

In fact, he’s doing so well that I’m not sure what our next step will be. Could he do college? I’m not sure.

Now, he’s got two weeks of summer school at the local high school, with an internship in the computer lab. After a couple of weeks off, he’ll have three weeks of social skills camp and then band camp.

I have some driving duties, but it’s so minimal compared to the past. So, I’m working. I’m working on long term projects, book proposals, and reviving old pitches that fell flat.

The Good News, The Bad News

Two big stories of the day.

This morning, the chatter was all about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.  There lots of links to her article on Catholicism and criminal justice reform. Check out the commercial that got her the win.

And there’s the awful, awful news that Trump is going to get to nominate another Supreme Court Justice. Ugh. Do you really think that Roe v Wade is in jeopardy? I can’t imagine.

Helen Parr’s Messy Work-Life Balance

I wrote this yesterday on a whim, but didn’t feel like sending out anywhere. So, I’m publishing here…

It’s been fourteen years since the last Incredibles movie as the actors remind us in an unnecessary promo in the beginning of the Incredibles 2. What’s happened in that time to the characters? Not that much. The teenagers are still being teenagers, surly and shy. Bob is still a knucklehead. With the large age gap, Jack-Jack is the classic “ooops, we forgot to use birth control” baby. In this movie, he’s still toddling around and developing his powers.

Like any superpower movie, there are bad guys who want to destroy the world. The public is annoyed with the inevitable clean up afterwards, as they were in Spiderman Homecoming. Like the X-Men films, the supers have to deal with the general distrust of those with weird powers.

But those themes are secondary to the real drama, which surround Helen’s role as a mother and her itch to work. Can Bob take over as lead parent for a while? Can she ramp up her career and join the ranks of other career women? Can she still save the world and look good in Lulumon spandex with the perimenopausal spread of her hips and boobs? Can she travel for work without calling home a million times? Continue reading

Vacation Plans

It’s summer, and we really should be on the road to the beach or drinking at a pub along the Hudson, but I went and got a damn head cold, so we’re wasting a great summer weekend night at home. Maybe we’ll crawl to the theater to see The Incredibles 2 tonight. Not sure yet.

I would have a glass of wine anyway, but we have none in the house, and I can’t send Jonah to store to get some, because he isn’t old enough yet, dammit, and Steve isn’t home yet and I’m too sick to drive. Sigh.

Where is everyone going on vacation this year?

We’re doing a simple week at the beach this year, because all the moneys have been diverted towards college and kitchen.

Immigration Questions

Immigration isn’t a typical Apt. 11D topic. It wasn’t one of my policy areas, and it’s not a hot topic in my area of the country. But there is absolutely nothing else in the news today, so let’s talk about it.

Do you think that the United States should have completely free open borders? Do you think there should be numerical quotas on the number of people allowed in the country? What should be done with unaccompanied minors? Should there be background checks done on people coming over the border?

Should we allow entry to all people who are threatened with gang violence? With domestic violence? with rampant poverty?

Would you support an increase in taxes to support the education and support for new immigrants?

Tell me. I’m curious.